The Adelaide Children's Hospital was established in 1876 to address the poor quality of life and premature death for destitute and poor children. The same year the newly formed Health Board had begun to investigate the high number of sick children in the Colony. The Board determined that a hospital for children was needed, and land was secured in North Adelaide (the current site of the Women's and Children's Hospital) for the sum of £2,500. Rt. Hon. Sir Samuel James Way, Baronet, P.C., D.C.L., LL.D. (Hon.), Chief Justice and Lieutenant-Governor of South Australia, was one of the founders, and the Hospital's president until 1915. The Foundation stone was laid on 20 June 1878.

The Hospital was declared open by Lady Jervois, wife of the Governor of SA and hospital patroness. The first in-patient was admitted the same day, and in less than two months 36 patients had been admitted. By the end of the first year the 'little charity hospital for the poor' had five nurses and 168 admissions. By 1893 the hospital had appointed South Australia's first female medical school graduate. Four years later the first laboratories were built, but research did not begin earnest until 1964, with one floor of the Rieger Building being occupied by the University of Adelaide Department of Paediatrics.

Until 1955 parents were able to visit their children only on two days each week, and it was only in the 1970s that parents were able to become closely involved in the care and comfort of their hospitalised children.

Women and Children's Hospital website

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